Abstract

The tectonic origin of pre-Devonian rocks of Svalbard has long been a matter of debate. In particular, the origin and assemblage of pre-Devonian rocks of western Spitsbergen, including a blueschist-eclogite complex in Oscar II Land, are enigmatic. We present detrital zircon U–Pb LA-ICP-MS data from six Mesoproterozoic to Carboniferous samples and one U–Pb TIMS zircon age from an orthogneiss from Oscar II Land in order to discuss tectonic models for this region. Variable proportions of Palaeo- to Neoproterozoic detritus dominate the metasedimentary samples. The orthogneiss has an intrusion age of 927 ± 3 Ma. Comparison with detrital zircon age spectra from other units of similar depositional age within the North Atlantic region indicates that Oscar II Land experienced the following tectonic history: (1) the latest Mesoproterozoic sequence was part of a successor basin which originated close to the Grenvillian–Sveconorwegian orogen, and which was intruded by c. 980–920 Ma plutons; (2) the Neoproterozoic sediments were deposited in a large-scale basin which stretched along the Baltoscandian margin; (3) the eclogite-blueschist complex and the overlying Ordovician–Silurian sediments probably formed to the north of the Grampian/Taconian arc; (4) strike-slip movements assembled the western coast of Spitsbergen outside of, and prior to, the main Scandian collision; and (5) the remaining parts of Svalbard were assembled by strike-slip movements during the Devonian. Our study confirms previous models of complex Caledonian terrane amalgamation with contrasting tectonic histories for the different pre-Devonian terranes of Svalbard and particularly highlights the non-Laurentian origin of Oscar II Land.

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